Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids

Fish Profiles & Photos
South American  
    sp. "Abacaxis"
    sp. "Putumayo"
    sp. "Steel Blue"

West African 

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Dwarf Cichlid Book Reviews

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   Although it is possible to find a lot of information about dwarf cichlids on the Internet, anyone that is seriously interested in dwarf cichlids should own one or more of the excellent books that are available. These books contain a wealth of information that is easily accessible and very comprehensive.

    With  new species being regularly discovered, every dwarf cichlid book that is published needs updating before it is even printed. However, information on existing species, care and feeding, aquarium management and breeding is timeless and this type of information will not go out of date.

    It can be difficult to find many dwarf cichlid books. Many of the best books are published in languages other than English and few are distributed in America. A couple of these are available and I provide information on how to locate them on their individual review pages. Few pet stores will stock the English language dwarf cichlid books so I generally recommend Amazon as the best source to find them.

South American Dwarf Cichlid Books

Books that should be commonly available

Aqualog South American Cichlids II
Author: Ulrich Glasser & Wolfgang Glasser
Copyright 1996
110 pages  465 photos
    This is the second of the Aqualog series of books and  features only dwarf species. It is primarily a photo book of species and contains little text or information on care and breeding. For each species a number of photos are provided with a series of symbols that provide very elementary additional info. The photos are top notch and many different species and forms are represented. Unfortunately, the lack of text makes this basically only an identification book and since it has been some time since it was published a number of the species that were new at the time are mis identified. Still it is a book full of wonderful photos of many different species and belongs on the shelf of every serious dwarf cichlid fan.

Aqualog Extra the latest Apistogramma
Author:    Dieter Bork
Copyright 2005
48 pages  223 photos
    This book only covers the species and forms of Apistogrammas that were discovered after the publication of the Aqualog II book described above. It follows the same basic format - mostly a book of photos of fishes with virtually no text. Many beautiful photos of unusual dwarf cichlids however, this is not the best book for beginning dwarf cichlid keepers. It is a great book if you want to look at beautiful fish and wish they were swimming in your tanks!

Mergus Cichlid Atlas Volume 2
Author:    Dr. Uwe Romer
Copyright 2006
1,319 pages  
     This book is a follow up to the excellent Volume 1 which was published in English in 2002. The first volume covered every species known to date and the second discusses every species discovered since the German edition of Vol. 1 was published in 2000. I wish I could report that this book is as good as the first but it is not nearly as important of a book for most hobbyists. Since this is intended to report on the newest fishes most of the species that hobbyists are likely to find are not in the book since they were covered in Vol. 1. However, for the specialist, this is another excellent volume that significantly advances our knowledge of Apistogrammas. If you are serious you will want to own this book.

South American Dwarf Cichlids
Author:    Hans J. Mayland & Dieter Bork                   This is currently the best
Copyright 1996                                                          Apistogramma reference available
English Edition 1997
187 pages    137 photos
    Although more than 10 years old, this remains an excellent text on South American dwarf cichlids. It gives good information about keeping and breeding many different species. It has top quality information about housing, breeding and all aspects of aquarium care. Complete Review

American Cichlids I - Dwarf Cichlids
Author:    Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
Publisher:  Tetra, Melle, Germany
Copyright 1984
English Edition 1994
232 pages      152 photos
    It has been more than 20 years since the first edition of this excellent book was published. The English version is more recent but there have been many discoveries that are not discussed. However, this remains a good reference and can be purchased used at very reasonable prices. Complete Review

Books that are in print but hard to find - see the individual review for info.

Die Buntbarsche Amerikas Band 2 Apistogramma & Co. 
Author:    Ingo Koslowski                                      This great book is hard to get and only available in German.
Copyright 2002                                                      You will need to buy the translation separately
German Language / English translation available        
318 pages    more than 700 photos
    This is the best book there is for giving complete descriptions of every species known when it was published. This book has excellent information about various aspects of keeping and breeding Apistogramma. However, it really shines in the section that describes the fish. Hundreds of species and forms are discussed with photos and detailed info provided for each species. Most of the photos from this book have been republished in the 2005 DATZ book South American Dwarf Cichlids (see below). However, the new book only contains brief species descriptions. If you are really interested in Apistos this is a "must have" book.
     This book is available only in German but Mike Wise has published a great authorized translation. The translation is only available from Mike and he will only sell you a copy if you can prove you have purchased the original German book or the DATZ successor. Contact Mike at  apistowise (at) earthlink (dot) net

South American Dwarf Cichlids
Author:    Rainer Stawikowski, Ingo Koslowski and Volker Bohnet
Copyright 2005
129 pages    558 photos
    This is the newest book available. It attempts to provide photos of every known form of Apistogramma. Published in Germany, the text of this book is in both German and English. It is the best reference for species identification but is currently difficult to find in the US. It is widely available in Europe.   Complete Review

Books that are out of print and very hard to find

Mergus Cichlid Atlas Volume 1      
Author:    Dr. Uwe Romer      
Copyright 2000
English Edition 2002
1,311 pages    1,448 photos
    This massive book has the most complete information about South American dwarfs. It has been over a decade since it was first published so there are some problems with names. However, this is a must have book. In 2006 a warehouse fire destroyed the existing stock of the English language edition of this book. It has become very scarce and used copies are rarely offered.A second printing is planned for 2008. Complete Review

West African Cichlid Books

Books that should be commonly available

The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa
Author:    Anton Lamboj
Publisher:  Birgit, Schmettkamp Verlag, Bornheim, Germany

Copyright 2004
Binding: Hard Cover
55 pages
    521 photos
    This comprehensive book is the best available on the fascinating and beautiful cichlids from West Africa. It covers all species and not just dwarfs and is the best reference yet published. Complete Review

Cichlids from West Africa
Author:     Horst Linke & Dr. Wolfgang Staeck
Publisher:  Tetra, Melle, Germany
Copyright 1984
English Edition 1994
200 pages      
        As with its South American counterpoint this book has become rather dated with many newer discoveries not being discussed. However, it remains an excellent primer on the care and breeding of the West African Dwarf Cichlids. The book has been out of print for a number of years but is widely available used at very reasonable prices. this is a good book to have.

South America Maps

Amazon Basin Map
     The native waters of dwarf cichlids are often very remote and undeveloped. The Amazon basin is a huge area and much of it is completely undeveloped. There are very few roads and the major transportation corridors are the rivers themselves. Most native peoples have no use for maps and there are very few good maps available. The only map I know of that covers the entire Amazon Basin is this one that was published in 2000.  The map scale is 1:4,000,000 and includes portions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, the Guyanas, Peru, Surinam, and Venezuela. Elevations shown by color changes. Legend locates cities and settlements of all sizes; roads from highways to unpaved roads; trails. Also airports and airstrips; railways. Hydrographic features such as glaciers, waterfalls, non-perennial streams, swamps and seasonally inundated land. Lighthouses; mines; wells; active volcanoes; ruins and other points of interest. List of national parks and other protected areas. Glossary of abbreviations of geographic features translated into English, Spanish & Portuguese. Although this map has become quite expensive to purchase it is a great reference for anyone who wants to better understand the waters of the Amazon

Aquarium Magazine Reviews

    The  major American aquarium hobby magazines all have occasional stories about dwarf cichlids and are generally a great resource for all fish keepers. I look forward to every issue I receive in the mail from my subscriptions. For complete information visit


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